May 02

Electronic Waste Recycling Today! May’s Sustainable Tuesday schedule!

Free E-Waste Recycling TODAY!  1-6pm at Paul and Babe!

Have old electronics that don’t work anymore?  Save yourself a trip to the transfer station and bring them to Paul and Babe (Paul Bunyan Park) TODAY (Thursday, May 2nd), anytime from 1-6pm!

5R Processors, Ltd, based in Ladysmith, WI, will be collecting this electronic waste and taking it back to their facility in Wisconsin to process.  BSU students will be volunteering to help you unload your electronics and heavier items.

Click here for a list of acceptable items.

This event is open to EVERYONE, community members or local businesses! We’d really like to fill up the truck this year, so please tell your friends about today’s event.

Earlier this week, Sustainable Tuesdays wrapped up our April line-up with a session on Backyard Composting!

We were joined by local resident Scott Merschman, who uses both hot and cold compost systems at his home and has had great success with them. Scott’s hot compost system can have compost ready in just three weeks, but requires regular turning.  His cold compost system takes around a year to create compost, but allows you to add food scraps and other compostables as you have them, while the hot compost system requires that you add them all at once.

Click here for a really handy article by Fine Gardening that explains the differences between hot and cold composting.

Scott also showed us a simple and low-cost way of creating a backyard compost bin with wooden pallets.  These are handy because the slats in the wood allow for great aeration.  If you’re thinking of making a bin yourself, here are some ideas for materials and size:

Materials. Bins can be built from scrap lumber, old pallets, snow fence, chicken wire, or concrete blocks. Typically, several types of composting bins are sold at hardware or lawn and garden stores.

Size. A pile or bin that is 1 cubic yard (3 feet high, 3 feet wide, 3 feet long) is small enough to be easily turned, but big enough to retain heat through most of the year. In the coldest part of the winter, the composting process may stop, but will start up again as soon as it warms up. Home compost piles shouldn’t be larger than 5′ x 5′ x 5′.

What can you compost in your bin?  The better question is: what CAN’T you compost?

The list of compostable materials is a mile long, and you’ll find that you can divert the majority of your household’s waste with a compost pile.  The Leech Lake Green Team has put together a fantastic list of compostable materials you’re likely to find in your home; check it out here!

Remember your “greens” and “browns”! Maintaining the right balance of green materials (nitrogen-rich, wet materials) and brown materials (carbon-rich, dry materials) will help you avoid any smell issues and make your compost pile break down even faster. Here’s a short list of examples:

Greens: food scraps, grass clippings, garden trimmings, fresh manure (only from herbivores like horses, cows, chickens, etc — no dog or cat manure!)

Browns: dry leaves, straw, sawdust, wood chips, shredded paper, cardboard, dryer lint

Looking for more resources?

We’d like to thank Scott for all of his help and for answering our compost-related questions!  And we’d also like to thank all of you that came out for this event and asked such great questions — we had a wonderful turnout and it’s been so exciting to see both new and returning faces at our programming.  Thank you, everyone!

Goodbye April, hello May!  May’s Sustainable Tuesday line-up is all about Community Health!  Click here for a PDF of our poster! 

When: Every Tuesday in May from 5:30 to 7:30pm

Where: Rail River Folk School (303 Railroad St SW, across the Irvine overpass and to left)

Tuesday, May 7th: All About Bicycling + Community Bike Ride!

  • May is National Bike Month!  To kick off the month, we’ll be joined by Active Living Bemidji and BikeMN.  Come learn about these great organizations and how they’ve improved biking and walking in the Bemidji area. Then, get to know your bike with some “Need to Know” biking tips before we take a spin on the trail!  Bring your bike and helmet if you’d like to join us for a bike ride!  There will be a tire pump if your tires need some air.

Tuesday, May 14th: Living Healthy on a Budget

  • Eating healthy and shopping with an eco-friendly mindset doesn’t have to be hard on your budget.  Join us for presentations by different community members on how to live healthy on a budget. Learn how to make the most out of your grocery shopping experience, plan healthy meals for the week, take advantage of the free activities the Bemidji area has to offer, and more!

Tuesday, May 21st: Sustainable Healthcare

  • What can health care systems learn from CSAs, cooperatives, collectives, and other local sustainability movements?  What does sustainable health care look like to both patients and healthcare workers?  Join us for a conversation with local practitioner Diane Pittman about community-oriented medical practice.  This is a great opportunity to share your visions about sustainable healthcare in our community!

Tuesday, May 28th: Help Plant the “We Digg It!” Garden

  • It’s time to plant those seedlings!  Join us at the Rail River Folk School’s “We Digg It!” community and learning garden to dig in the dirt and plant some delicious veggies. If you’re new to gardening and want to get in on the action, this is the session for you!

We’re really excited for May’s line up, and we hope you are too!  If you have any questions about our events this month, or ideas for events you’d like to see this summer, please contact me (Caitlyn) at 755-3765 or Simone at 751-4967.

Next week: All About Bicycles + Community Bike Ride!

Spring is here, and that means it’s time to dust off your bike and get ready to ride!  Join us at the Rail River Folk School on Tuesday, May 7th at 5:30pm for a night all about biking!  We’ll be joined by Josh Pearson and Kurt Wayne from Active Living Bemidji and Natalie Gille from BikeMN.  We’ll start off the evening by learning about what these organizations have done to improve biking and walking in the Bemidji area, take a closer look at our own bikes and review some bike safety, and then hit the trails for a ride!

Natalie Gille of BikeMN is going to show us some “Need to Know” bike basics before we go on our ride.  Bring your helmets to learn how to properly fit them.  Bring your bike and learn how to conduct an “ABC Quick Check” on your bike before the ride.  We’ll also learn more about these great tips!

  • Practice bike handling skills to better control your bike
  •  Wear a helmet fitted correctly
  •  Perform ABC Quick Check on your bike before each ride
  • Ride on the right and obey all traffic control devices
  • Ride predictably; be visible at all times
  • Scan for traffic; signal lane changes and turns
  • Drink before you are thirsty; eat before you are hungry

This is a fun opportunity for the whole family, and a great way to kick off Bemidj Bike and Walk Month! Please bring your bike and helmet if you’d like to join us for the ride.

Should there be bad weather, we will STILL meet to learn more about biking , but will skip the actual ride.

Hope to see you there!  Tuesday, May 7th at the Rail River Folk School from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

National Bike Month in Bemidji is more than just about bicycling!  Bemidji is declaring it to be “Bemidji Bike and Walk Month,” to recognize all the ways that our city supports bicyclists and pedestrians. 

Check out the different ways you can participate:

  • Mayor Albrecht will be signing a proclamation declaring May as Bemidji Bike and Walk Month at the May 6th Council Meeting at 7pm – all are welcome to join and show your support!
  • Bike to Work Week is May 13th through May 17th
    • Give biking a try!  Many commuters find it difficult to change their morning routine, but during this week we’re challenging you to ditch the car, save some gas, and get some exercise by biking to work!
    • There will be “Energizer Stations” located throughout town, where you can stop and get a nice reward for biking to work.
    • You’ll be surprised at how healthy you’ll feel when you get that nice, morning exercise and dose of fresh air.
    • Try timing your commute!  Bicyclists often get you to work faster than your car could, plus there’s no searching for a parking spot.
    • Worried about getting sweaty?  What about carrying your stuff?  Bring a backpack with anything you need for work, including a quick change of clothes.
  • Bemidji Police Department’s Bike Auction on May 7th– 5:00pm at the Police Training Center on Rako Street
    • Looking for a cheap bike?  Stop by the auction and see what the city has available.  This event starts at 5:00, and you can follow it with a trip over to Sustainable Tuesdays!

That’s all for this week!  Next week is supposed to bring some warmer weather (fingers crossed!). Enjoy the rest of the week, and don’t forget to drop off your old electronics to be recycled at Paul and Babe today!

As always, our program depends on your input and feedback, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions to broaden our community. Sustainable Tuesdays feature a variety of learning opportunities focused on sustainability that connect our beautiful, vibrant community and is a partnership program with the Indigenous Environmental Network, MN GreenCorps, Rail River Folk School and BSU’s Sustainability Office.

For more information, contact Caitlyn Schuchhardt at 755-3765 or Simone Senogles at 751-4967.

With peace,